Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

Melt-in the mouth and flakey crust with a moist and buttery bread, filled with a rich chocolate hazelnut crunch filling.

Happy New Year’s Eve! To celebrate, I am making a Chocolate Babka! Over the past couple of months on Instagram, I have seen many baking bloggers making babka. The intricate twisting pattern caught my eye, and I wanted to learn how to do it! I did not expect this twist to be so simple! Babkas are an Eastern European Jewish Bread/Cake that is made from a buttery and eggy dough, and is traditionally filled with cinnamon or jam. However, the chocolate lover in me wanted to try the chocolate version.

Little did I know, making babka is a pretty intensive process. I began by making the filling because it is important for the chocolate filling to completely cool before rolling it into the bread dough. If the filling is not completely cooled, the picture perfect babka twist will not turn out and the chocolate will smear all over the bread dough. The filling is made by melting together the butter, sugar, and chocolate in a double boiler. Then, you remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Transfer into a separate bowl to cool. While I was waiting for the chocolate mixture to melt, I toasted hazelnuts in the oven until golden and then I coarsely chopped them. This will add a nice crunch to the final product.

While the chocolate filling is cooling, make the bread dough. This is the typical process for making very buttery, flakey bread, like brioche. Make the sponge with instant yeast, sugar, and milk (at about 110 degrees F) and set aside until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be very firm at this point. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time. Between each tablespoon, mix well. It may take some time for the butter to incorporate fully. This long process of incorporating the butter is what creates the flakiness of the bread. Once the butter is all incorporated, continue to knead until the dough is very smooth and can pass the window pane test.

Roll the freshly kneaded dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (make sure the long edge is closest to you). Spread the cooled chocolate fudge filling over top, leaving about a 1 cm boarder. Work quickly because the chocolate sauce will be more difficult to spread once poured out. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on the top. As you would with cinnamon rolls, tightly roll the dough starting from the long edge closest to you making sure you are not stretching the dough any bigger than 12 x 16 inches. If stretched, the bread will not fit into the bread tin. Trim about an inch off each end to create clean ends.

To form the twist, rotate the spiral of dough 90 degrees so that the short end is closest to you. Using a large sharp knife, slice lengthways down through the middle of the dough, cutting it into 2 long pieces. Face each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal. Again, be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Once proofed, bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then 325 for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the bread to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. I had to cover my babka with foil during the baking process to prevent it from getting too dark on top. The bread will be done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Over low heat in a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool and brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

I’d love to see your beautiful babkas! Take pictures and tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Paul Hollywood's Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 65g blanched hazelnuts
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 80g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • For the dough:
  • 275g all-purpose flour
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50mL whole milk
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • For the syrup:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100mL water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and roast hazelnuts for 4-5 minutes on a baking tray until golden and then coarsely chop. Let cool.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the butter, sugar, and chocolate until very smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour into a bowl and let cool and thicken.
  3. Make the sponge. Mix the instant yeast, sugar, and warm milk (about 110 degrees F) together and let sit until frothy.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. *Note: the dough will be very firm at this point.
  5. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook until smooth and the dough passes the window pane test.
  7. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 12 x 16 inch rectangle, with the long edge closest to you.
  8. Spread the cooled chocolate mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 cm border all around. Sprinkle all the toasted hazelnuts over the top.
  9. Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a tight spiral, with the seam underneath. Be sure to not stretch the dough too much.
  10. Trim an inch off each end to neaten, and turn the roll 90 degrees so the short end is closest to you. Using a large knife, slice lengthways down the middle of the dough cutting it into 2 long pieces.
  11. Flip each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal (be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan)
  12. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  13. Once proofed, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cover with foil if the bread gets too brown.
  15. While the bread is baking, make the syrup. In a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  16. Brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven.

Tate tested by friends and family with love.

Classic Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Soft and fluffy, sweet Hawaiian rolls

One night, my dad was watching The Food Network, and they were making Hawaiian sweet rolls. This sparked his request for me to make some for him. The first time we had ever tried these rolls was in Hawaii, on the Big Island, when we visited the Panulu’u Bake Shop. They are very famous for their hawaiian sweet rolls, and they were delicious, so light and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness. When my dad requested it, I decided to give them a shot!

What makes Hawaiian Sweet Bread different?

Hawaiian Sweet Bread is sweetened with pineapple juice rather that white sugar or honey, and it contains potato starch. Potato starch is the key ingredient to the best Hawaiian sweet bread! Potato starch and potato flour are very different. Potato starch is less flavorful and more like corn starch compared to potato flour which is made with whole potatoes. Without the potato starch, the bread is not smooth, moist, or flavorful. Just a small amount makes a huge difference in the final product. The starch helps absorb more water and creates more air pockets, so the bread ends up being more silky, moist, and airy.

This recipe is very standard and simple, you can do it! Treat this like any other yeast bread. Begin by activating the yeast in the warm water and pineapple juice mixture. You need to make sure the liquid is not too hot and not too cold for activation. I use a meat thermometer to ensure the liquid is 110-113 degrees F. Then, when you add the yeast, make sure you let this mixture sit and get foamy before adding it to the rest of your ingredients. If this mixture doesn’t get foamy, you know your yeast is no longer good.

While your yeast mixture is sitting, combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Then, in the bowl of the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add the frothy yeast mixture. Slowly add all of the dry ingredients into the bowl and whip with the paddle attachment for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough passes the window pane test, about 5 minutes.

To do the window pane test, gently grab the edges of the dough and let gravity slowly pull it down. The dough will pass the test if you can see the light pass through the super thin dough, this means enough gluten has formed.

Once the dough passes this test, let the dough rise until doubled in size in a greased bowl, about 3 hours. Once doubled, punch down the dough and cut into 15 even pieces and shape into tight dough balls. Place them in a greased 9 x 13 pan and let rise until doubled again. Brush the top of the rolls with the egg wash and bake at 350 degrees until the center is 195-200 degrees F or until golden brown on top.

My dad and I sat on our deck on a nice, sunny day, eating the warm Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, pretending we were back in Hawaii. I hope you enjoy this summery recipe as much as we did! I would love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane with your Hawaiian Sweet Rolls!

Perfect Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, canned or fresh
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (save the whites)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium-size saucepan, warm the water and pineapple juice until 110 degrees F. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast over top and give it a little stir. Let sit until frothy.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, starch, and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolk (remember to save the egg), and vanilla. Add the frothy yeast mixture and mix well.
  4. While the mixer is on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Once you pour in all the dry ingredients, beat on medium-high for 3 minutes.
  5. Switch to the dough hook and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test, about 5 minutes.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise, covered, until double in size. This will take about 3 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  7. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces.
  8. Using your hands, make each piece of dough into a tight ball. Cup the dough ball with your hands and pull one hand down, rotating the dough ball. This will create a tight ball and tension on the surface of the dough. Then, place in the greased pan. Repeat this step for all 15 of the rolls.
  9. Cover the rolls and let rise until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Mix a tablespoon of water with the reserved egg white and brush this egg wash over the risen rolls.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the bread is 200 degrees F. The tops should be a nice golden brown.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Overnight No Need to Knead Crusty White Bread

New York Times easy and delicious crusty bread. Restaurant level crunch on the outside, pillow soft and chewy on the inside.

Last week, New Jersey was hit with tropical storm Isaias. Power went out across my town, targeting my house as I had my overnight crusty bread in the dutch oven! The power flickered on and off while it was baking, but I was hopeful that I would have power long enough to bake my bread. However, after 15-20 minutes of baking, big trees took out our power. I still had 45-50 minutes of baking left to do! I kept the oven closed and hoped that the bread would bake. Sure enough after 50 minutes of “baking,” I took the bread out, uncovered the dutch oven and steam came flowing out, it was done and beautiful, UNBELIEVEABLE!! It was perfect and crusty and the inside was moist and airy. I was so surprised and relieved that it was successful!

This is to say that this bread is VERY easy and forgiving. Even after the bread was baking in an oven that turned off a quarter of the way into baking, the final product was just as yummy. My grandma kept saying that it tastes like bread from fancy Italian restaurants. The crust is perfectly flaky and crunchy, and you don’t even have to use a steam oven or a tray of water at the bottom of the oven! The inside is very moist, soft and springy, almost doughy.

As I said before, this bread is extremely easy and quick to make. I got my recipe from The New York Times No-Knead Bread, but I added a few variations to my liking and to make the recipe easier.

Make the dough the night before you want to bake the bread. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast until a shaggy dough forms. (Note: Do not convert the instant yeast to active dry yeast because the yeast flavor will be too strong with active dry). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours. The longer you can let it sit, the better. Although the original recipe does not have sugar under the ingredients, I always love sweeter breads, so if you do too, add some sugar!

After 12-18 hours of the dough resting, the surface of the dough should have a lot of small bubbles. This is how you know when your dough is ready. At this point, turn out the dough on a floured surface. Using heavily floured hands, gently fold the dough over on itself 3-4 times. Cover and let the gluten rest for 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, grease and flour a large mixing bowl. After the dough has rested, using heavily floured hands, again, gently and quickly shape into a rough ball. Coat your hands in enough flour to minimize the dough from sticking to your hands. Put this dough seam side down in the prepared mixing bowl. Cover with plastic until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.

When the dough is almost doubled, preheat your oven with the dutch oven inside. Let the dutch oven sit in the preheated oven for another 15 minutes. Remove the dutch oven and pour the dough ball into the dutch oven, do any small adjustments to the shape of the dough, then cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15-30 minutes depending on how brown and crisp you like your bread. This last step without the lid is primarily to add some color and more crunch to your bread. To ensure the bread is cooked all the way, the internal temperature should read about 200 degrees F.

I hope you try out this deliciously easy bread, I would love to see pictures of your bread! Tag me on Instagram with your creations @beyondbakingwithamandajane

Overnight No Need to Knead Crusty White Bread

  • Servings: 1- 1.5 pound loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tsp granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic and let sit for 12-18 hours at room temperature.
  2. When the dough has a lot of bubbles on top, turn out on to floured surface. Fold dough over on itself 3-4 times using floured hands. Sprinkle thin layer of flour on top. Loosely cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Grease and flour large mixing bowl.
  4. With floured hands, shape dough into rough ball and place into prepared mixing bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size, about 2-3 hours.
  5. About 30 minutes before dough completely rises, preheat oven to 450 degrees F with the dutch oven inside. Let dutch oven sit in the preheated oven for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Once doubled, pour the dough ball into hot dutch oven. Make any small adjustments to the shape of the dough. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-30 minutes, until desired color.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.